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Old 12-09-2019, 05:41 PM   #1
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WiFi Ranger LTE - Great Feature / Worst marketing ever!!!

So as I explore my brand new 2020 Bounder I am discovering the included WiFi Ranger with LTE may be the best feature that I did not know I needed!!! If everything works the way it appears it should then this feature is the solution many Canadian visitors to the US need to solve their connectivity issues.

My rig came from the factory with this equipment installed. But Fleetwood and WiFi Ranger need to know that the only reason I “bought” this equipment was because it happened to already be on the unit. And this is 100% the fault of their marketing people. Fleetwood’s site gave absolutely no information on what the WiFi Ranger was or what it was capable of. And the Ranger’s website might as well have been built by a 4 year old. It gives almost no information as to what the product really is or what it is capable of. There is plenty of technical gobblygoop but next to nothing in layman’s terms that makes the system simple to understand and sell what it is really capable of.

I spent today setting up my Ranger, I understood it was a booster and the capabilities and limitations of that technology. I look forward to seeing how it performs in improving my WiFi capacity. But the real bonus came when I fully understood, only through trial and error, what the LTE portion was and what it was capable of providing me.

For those looking for plain english, like me, the LTE portion of the Ranger is your connection to US Cellular networks and potentially the solution to all your travel data needs. Included in the WiFi Ranger is an open SIM Card which has the capability to connect to several Cellular networks including options that you can set up on line. The one that seemed easiest was Millenicom which appears to be connected to T-Mobile. The card provides cellular connectivity in Canada, US and Mexico. For $20 US a month you get 2GB of LTE Data and then Unlimited non-LTE data. There are no additional taxes or fees and it includes Unlimited music streaming that does not count against your LTE data cap. In addition there is no contract so if you are like me and park the rig for the winter you can cancel the service until the next season.

For $35 a month you can have 6GB of data and add Unlimited movie streaming that also does not count against your LTE data cap. Once you are set up the Ranger creates a single point of connectivity that you can quickly connect multiple devices to.

For me this option will very quickly pay for itself. The going rate to have access to your Canadian data while travelling the US is $8.00 a day or $216 a year. On top of that I retain a higher level of data then I need in my daily life in order to have connectivity when I travel. Instead of paying for a 10GB cell phone plan on my daily phone to cover my travel expenses, I will easily be able to cut down to something like a 4GB plan and then use the Ranger while I travel.

I can’t tell you yet how well this will work, because I am in winter storage until April. Come spring I look forward to trying it out and discovering if this system is capable of delivering what it appears to offer... Or perhaps WiFi Ranger will hire a proper web designer and I will be able to read about my options before then.
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Old 06-03-2020, 02:31 PM   #2
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Thanks for posting your experiences. Sounds like a valuable addition to life on the road.
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Old 06-04-2020, 04:49 AM   #3
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Griswald, could you update us on how the wifi Ranger performs?
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Old 06-04-2020, 05:53 AM   #4
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Griswald, could you update us on how the wifi Ranger performs?
So it is hooked up and fully functional. I did have some challenges with the setup but I called their customer support (in the middle of the pandemic) and they answered the phone and walked me through resolving the issues in under 10 minutes. Very friendly and I was quite impressed with them.

I am hard pressed to truly judge the T-mobile service yet as I have not been able to travel anywhere. In my storage yard I am receiving 5mb download speeds. Not great, but I never expected the service North of the border to be stellar. That said it is enough for me to stream music and access IRV.

We camp quite a bit both South of the Border and in border towns around Gananoque and over on Lake Erie so it will be interesting to see if I get better speeds in those areas. Hopefully our leaders will start opening up campgrounds soon and I will update once I have been able to test the equipment out more thoroughly.
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Old 06-04-2020, 06:23 AM   #5
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Thanks for the update. I would like to purchase a signal booster but don't know if I want to invest this much money in a Wifi Ranger or if something cheaper would work just as well. I will wait to hear back as you move around.
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Old 06-04-2020, 05:22 PM   #6
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My 2020 Newmar Ventana also came with a WiFi Ranger device. I'm guessing you have the same thing I had - the WiFi Ranger SkyPro LTE. While this device is very old and outdated by current standards (e.g., it only has a Cat 4 cellular modem, and the wifi is only 2.4GHZ), it does do the job for those who want internet access on the road, and aren't interested in super-high-speed access. I had already purchased a Pepwave BR1 Max for my old coach, so I moved that over to the new coach and removed the WiFi Ranger device, which will go to my daughter for them to use in the travel trailer.

You are spot on with the lousy marketing of this device, but then WiFi Ranger wants the world to forget that they ever made it, and have you go for their new "Converge" line of devices. If you look through their website, all reference to this older device has been removed, other than a few accessories for sale.

Your device actually has 3 functions. First, it has 2 MIMO rooftop antennas for picking up public wifi (such as in an RV park). Second, it has the cellular modem to allow you to set up cellular data access. Finally, it has a USB port on the inside unit (the Core), which you can use to tether a cellphone or wifi hotspot. In all three uses, the internet connection is then piped through your private router (in the Core) to all the devices in your RV.

There have been a number of threads on RV internet on this forum, and you should check them out. Cellular internet service is available for quite a lot less than you mention in your post. I have Verizon cell phones, and I added a Jetpack plan to that account, which gives me 15GB of data per month for $20. The SIM from that device works fine in the WiFi Ranger. That's a backup though, as I have an AT&T SIM with unlimited data that I use in the cellular router. If Verizon has a stronger signal in my location, I tether the Jetpack to the Core unit and use up my 15GB on that plan.

This thread is very long and very informative about antennas, cellular modems and the like.

This thread will show you how you can get unlimited internet data for $25/month using a tethered cell phone through Visible.
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Old 06-04-2020, 05:33 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by miniedmo View Post
Thanks for the update. I would like to purchase a signal booster but don't know if I want to invest this much money in a Wifi Ranger or if something cheaper would work just as well. I will wait to hear back as you move around.
There are numerous threads on this forum explaining the differences among cell signal boosters, WiFi-as-WAN devices (WiFi repeaters) and cellular modems. Each is a completely different animal. The WiFi Ranger device referenced by the OP does not include a cell signal booster, but has the other two capabilities. Those with the most experience and knowledge will give you many reasons why a cell signal booster is not worth the money (and I agree). Do your research, then decide where best to spend your $$ to achieve what you need.
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Old 06-05-2020, 06:13 AM   #8
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Thanks PV, I have been reading a lot, as to why I haven't purchased one yet. I have read a lot of threads that say they aren't what their cracked up to be for the price point.
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Old 06-05-2020, 08:06 AM   #9
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There are numerous threads on this forum explaining the differences among cell signal boosters, WiFi-as-WAN devices (WiFi repeaters) and cellular modems. Each is a completely different animal. The WiFi Ranger device referenced by the OP does not include a cell signal booster, but has the other two capabilities. Those with the most experience and knowledge will give you many reasons why a cell signal booster is not worth the money (and I agree). Do your research, then decide where best to spend your $$ to achieve what you need.
With today's cellular network, it is often better to provide MIMO support than to provide just "simple" amplification. All WiFiRanger integrated modems have 2x2 MIMO support. Cell boosters still have a role in some situations but the benefit of MIMO will be increasingly important going forward.

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Old 06-13-2020, 09:26 AM   #10
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Thanks for the update. I would like to purchase a signal booster but don't know if I want to invest this much money in a Wifi Ranger or if something cheaper would work just as well. I will wait to hear back as you move around.
If you already have a Verizon or AT&T or whomever hotspot, you already have a 4g LTE receiver/transmitter and wireless router. All you need then is 4g LTE antenna from MobileMark or someone like that to improve reception. You just plug the antenna cable directly into your hotspot. I bought MobileMark's 5g/MIMO/GPS antenna (which covers the entire 3g4g5g spectrum), because 5g is right around the corner and I didn't want to have to buy and reinstall another antenna next year. Works great and I'm not locked into Wifi rangers router. I get unlimited data with no throttling for $65/month from Verizon and I can slip the hotspot in my pocket and take it anywhere I need it to be. Like you, I found WiFi ranger and others like it to be overpriced for what they were.
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Old 06-13-2020, 12:55 PM   #11
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Thanks for the update. I would like to purchase a signal booster but don't know if I want to invest this much money in a Wifi Ranger or if something cheaper would work just as well. I will wait to hear back as you move around.

I hope you understand that a WiFiRanger is not a cellular signal booster. Yes, it can have an integrated modem but it doesn't compete with dedicated cellular amplifiers sold by WeBoost and others. It does, of course, amplify WiFi signals.

These days, in many locations there is less of a need for an amplifier than there is for unamplified MIMO antennas. If your cell signal is adequate using an amplifier can actually reduced your speed compared to what you might have been able to achieve with no external antenna at all or with inexpensive MIMO antennas.

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Old 06-14-2020, 03:23 PM   #12
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Ok, a little further to my Wifi Ranger experience. We are out in Ganaoque for the weekend. Currently I am on the campgrounds WiFi because the cellular signal has dropped off to the point that the Speedtest fails to obtain a connection.

I did discover an unanticipated problem last night. We attempted to stream a Netflix movie we had downloaded. I tried both out Chromecast and the Sony streaming connection that works through the onboard DVD player. The problem was, the WiFi Ranger was pulling in a US signal so it would not let me stream Canadian content. Luckily I have a USB to HDMI connection for the phone so we were able to overcome that particular issue.

So far my WiFi Ranger experiment has only had So-So results. The real test for us would be during the 3-4 weeks of US travel that we normally do, but the COVID era has put a damper on that.
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Old 06-15-2020, 07:19 AM   #13
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The WiFiRanger shouldn't have anything to do with US vs. Canada content. That is a function of your credentials with the streaming service (if on WiFi), your Wifi's "zip code" area (where your current ISP is - at the campground) and if on cellular, your cellular carrier / roaming carrier and it's location.
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Old 06-15-2020, 07:34 AM   #14
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I did discover an unanticipated problem last night. We attempted to stream a Netflix movie we had downloaded. I tried both out Chromecast and the Sony streaming connection that works through the onboard DVD player. The problem was, the WiFi Ranger was pulling in a US signal so it would not let me stream Canadian content. Luckily I have a USB to HDMI connection for the phone so we were able to overcome that particular issue.
As has already been noted, the WiFiRanger has absolutely no control over whether or not the park's WiFi uses a US or Canadian ISP. If you're connected to the park WiFi the Ranger isn't "pulling in a US signal." It has nothing to do with the fact that the Ranger is made in the US. This isn't like listening to the radio, the Ranger will connect to whatever internet connection the park provides. Sorry, you couldn't watch Canadian TV, but that's not the Ranger's fault.

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